This Frequently Asked Questions page refers to questions pertaining specifically to the BWI of STL Gateway: the organization, meetings, educators, libraries, etc.
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How much is a membership?
We now offer several membership options, both annual and monthly. See our Meetings and Membership page for details.
What does a membership get me?
Being a paid member gives you the opportunity to support babywearing education in your community! In addition paid members can borrow carriers from our library each month. We also have several local retail partners who offer a discount on carrier purchases to our members. Visit our Retail Partners page for the list of retailers and applicable discounts.
How do I become a member?
Just talk to any volunteer at a meeting! We will get you signed up and you can complete the donation by cash or PayPal, and you can borrow a carrier from the meeting that same day.
How do I borrow a carrier?
All current paid members may borrow one or two carriers from the library available at the meeting, depending on membership level. All library check-outs occur in the last half hour of the meeting; at that time you may return to any carrier you tried on with an educator and pick it up for checkout (they’ll give you any other details you need at that time). If you try on a carrier that you want to borrow, but aren’t a member, you can pay your donation at the meeting and borrow from the library the same day!
Can I attend meetings without being a paid member?
Yes! Everyone is welcome to attend meetings (as many as you want), try on the library carriers at the meetings, and get help from the educators.
When and where are the meetings?
We currently have meetings at several different locations, at different days and times throughout the month, including a Saturday meeting time! Please see the calendar of events for upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations.
Can I attend meetings without being a paid member?
Yes! Everyone is welcome to attend meetings, try on carriers at the meetings, ask questions or get help with your current carrier from an educator, and socialize with other caregivers. However only current members who have donated the annual membership fee to the chapter can borrow carriers from the library to use between meetings.
What happens at meetings?
Generally the meetings start with an introduction of our educators present so you know who to talk to for help, then we have a short presentation by an educator on a particular carrier or wrap. After that we split up around the room with each educator taking a style of carrier — wraps over here, SSCs over there, ring slings over there, etc. That way you can join the group with the type of carrier you want to try or need help fitting and can work with an educator one-on-one. You are of course welcome to stop by as many groups as you want, or just chat with other members!
Can I bring my kids to a meeting?
Absolutely! We encourage you to bring the baby or child you want to wear if you plan to try on carriers. We also have weighted dolls if you’d rather use those for practice, or if your child just isn’t interested in being worn at the meeting. Siblings are also welcome!
I have a carrier but I’m not 100% sure how to use it. Can someone help me fit it correctly?
Yes, we’d love to! Bring any carrier you would like help with, and an educator can give you tips for wearing with that carrier, help you troubleshoot any fit problems, and suggest other options if that one just isn’t working for you.
I am a veteran babywearer. Can I be of assistance at a meeting?
We always need more volunteers to help make the meetings run smoothly, and would love for you to contact us if you would like to help in any capacity! However ONLY BWI certified educators may assist with carriers at a meeting or any BWI sponsored event. It’s not that you don’t know what you’re doing, but as a BWI chapter we must carefully follow the guidelines necessary to have our meetings and volunteers covered by the BWI liability insurance, and part of that is ensuring that only certified educators provide carrier help during BWI events. Again, if you would like to help, please contact us about becoming a volunteer and we would love to put your skills to work!
Do I need to do anything before coming to a meeting?
Nope! But everyone who attends a meeting must sign in with a release form. It will take several minutes at the beginning of the meeting, or you can save some time and fill it out online before you come.
I can’t make it to the scheduled meetings. Is there any other way I can get help with my carrier or try on other carriers?
The BWI educators are only available at the meetings and occasional workshops and outreach events, which will be posted in the Calendar. However, many of our Retail Partners provide babywearing consultation and will allow you to try on the carriers they have in store. You can also join our Facebook Group and ask questions or post pictures of you and your carrier for help with fit, and an educator will reply!
What’s in the library?
We are constantly searching for new carriers to add to the library, but you can find a list of some of the inventory here. Send us a message if you would like to know if the library has something you don’t see here!
Who can borrow from the library?
All paid members can borrow one carrier per month.
How long can I keep a carrier?
All carriers may be borrowed for up to one month. Within the checkout time, you may return the carrier to any of the monthly meetings, if you would like to return it early (if you can’t make it to the next meeting from which you borrowed it, or would simply like to return it early to try out something else).
Can I return a carrier to a different location than the one from which I borrowed it?
Yes! We now have the entire library rolling from meeting to meeting, so you may return a carrier to any meeting within the one month checkout period.
I can’t make any of the meeting times. Is there any other way to borrow a carrier from the library?
No, the carrier library is only available at meetings and no one can check out from the library other than at scheduled meetings. We try to spread the meetings out at various locations and days/times to accommodate as many caregivers as possible. Our educators, librarian, secretary, and everyone else who helps make the meetings and library possible are strictly volunteers, with families and many other demands on their time; we simply can’t ask them to make time outside of the meetings to make the library available.
How do I wash a library carrier?
Many carriers require special care when laundering, so we ask that you do not wash any carriers or wraps from the library before contacting us for instructions specific to that particular carrier.
Can I donate a used carrier to the library?
We are always looking for carriers for both our teaching/lending library, and for our outreach library. Please contact us and let us know what you have! If for some reason the carrier does not fit a need in our libraries at the moment, we will be happy to point you to a few other organizations that accept carrier donations.
Who runs the meetings?
The meetings are staffed by volunteer members of our chapter’s Board of Directors, BWI certified educators, and other chapter volunteers.
Can I help?
Yes, yes, and yes! We have many opportunities for volunteers in different areas, and we need you! You can learn more about becoming a volunteer, or contact us and let us know how you think you might help and your general availability.
What types of volunteer positions are available?
Chapter Support Volunteers (CSV) join us at meetings and help set up, sign people in, welcome new attendees, check carriers in and out, and other jobs. CSVs can also take on many leadership roles in our chapter and board of directors and help in our online groups and at events.
Volunteer Babywearing Educators (VBE) are volunteers who have completed the entry level BWI educator accreditation. They can do all of the jobs of a CSV, but only VBEs may provide carrier education and assistance at meetings and other BWI sponsored events. VBEs may also study for the higher accreditation educator positions of Advanced Babywearing Educator and then Master Babywearing Educator.
See our Becoming a Volunteer page for more details!
Do volunteers pay the membership fee?
CSVs and VBEs pay dues of $10/year directly to BWI, with the membership benefits of the Upgraded Annual Membership.
Who are the current volunteers and leadership team?
See the Meet Our Volunteers page!